Does law school breed tiny monsters? You bet it does. Each year, another group of bright-eyed innocents enters law school, their brains filled with nothing but song lyrics, sports statistics, and perhaps a bit of Nietzche. This is scary enough, but law school transforms them into something even more perverse. After just three years, these young law students are now ambitious and ruthless baby lawyers. They can quote black-letter law, distinguish between the writing styles of "Posner" and "Scalia," and place bets on which editor of their law journal will be the next Supreme Court justice. Not only is the world theirs for the taking, they think, but so are the highest reaches of government. All they have to do is get a well-paying starter job and then wait for the earlier generations of monstrous law-school graduates to do them the favor of dying.
Exaggerated? Hardly. I myself am a textbook example of this phenomenon. In 1990, bloated with self-importance, I graduated from law school and assumed my rightful place in our nation’s democracy as a “BigLaw associate.” If had been a character in a novel, perhaps one written by David Lat, the reader would have been willing to wait a great many pages for the world to finally deliver a well-deserved smack in my face. That smack would persuade me, once and for all, that I was just an ordinary person.
In David Lat’s first novel, the fun and entertaining Supreme Ambitions, the monstrous baby lawyer who eventually gets her comeuppance is the first-person narrator Audrey Coyne, a graduate of Yale Law School. As a first-person narrator, Audrey is unreliable only in that she doesn’t fully know herself. The genre of Lat's novel most closely resembles chick lit. (Male writers, if you didn't know, aren't excluded from the genre.) Lat's novel is a fast read. With generous doses of dialogue, Audrey recounts her tale in a linear manner, chapter by chapter, beginning to end. In addition to the main action, diversionary asides include Audrey’s flirtations with co-workers, both male and female; the ins-and-outs of her job as a federal appellate clerk; and plenty of observations about fashion.